Hampers cheer up struggling farmers
By ADAM HICKS
AS SANTA packs his sleigh in the North Pole, Anne Thompson will be packing a truck in Clunes in an effort to spread Christmas cheer to drought-affected farmers.
Mrs Thompson heads a team of volunteers who are using food items donated by residents of the Northern Rivers to make Christmas hampers for families doing it tough in the State's west.
The target set in October was to make 200 hampers, but generous support from the local community helped make about 240 hampers.
Mrs Thompson said she and her husband, John, would be loading up a truck, loaned by Southside Agencies in Lismore, and leaving on Monday for a Christmas run to the back of Bourke and beyond.
She said the delivery mission would take about a week, with the couple set to make stops in Narrabri, Walgett, Collarenebri, Bourke and Nyngan.
"It's a token gesture just to bring them some Christmas cheer," Mrs Thompson said.
"From the letters we've received in the past, the project works a treat. They are so grateful and it lifts their spirts."
Mrs Thompson said the project would give something back to isolated families who provided so much for the rest of the community.
"Where would we be without them?" she said. "We'd have no food, nothing."
With the Masonic Hall at Eltham as a workshop, Mrs Thompson and her band of helpers have been busy for the past five weeks.
"A big thank you goes out to all who have contributed. These hampers bring so much cheer to isolated farming families who have done it tough for several years now," she said.
Hampers contain a Christmas card from the people of the Norther Rivers.